Purdue to acquire Kaplan, create new public university
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind.– Purdue University announced a plan Thursday to acquire Kaplan University in its entirety in order to create a new public university.
Purdue officials said the initiative will address the need for post-secondary education for working adults and others unsuited to traditional campus study, and the explosive growth of online technologies as a means of delivering education to students of all types.
“Nearly 150 years ago, Purdue proudly accepted the land-grant mission to expand higher education beyond the wealthy and the elites of society,” President Mitch Daniels said. “We cannot honor our land-grant mission in the 21st century without reaching out to the 36 million working adults, 750,000 of them in our state, who started but did not complete a college degree, and to the 56 million Americans with no college credit at all.
“None of us knows how fast or in what direction online higher education will evolve, but we know its role will grow, and we intend that Purdue be positioned to be a leader as that happens. A careful analysis made it clear that we are very ill-equipped to build the necessary capabilities ourselves, and that the smart course would be to acquire them if we could. We were able to find exactly what we were looking for. Today’s agreement moves us from a standing start to a leading position.”
Purdue leaders said the university was purchasing Kaplan for the price of one dollar.
“Kaplan Inc. is contributing certain assets of Kaplan University in return for a long-term service contract,” Daniels said.
Kaplan’s 15 campuses and learning centers, 32,000 students, 3,000 employees will transition to the new university, which will use the Purdue name in some way. The school’s name has not yet been announced.
“Kaplan will be paid a fee as a percentage of revenue over the course of the term,” Andrew Rosen, Kaplan Inc. chairman and CEO, said. He added the acquisition will not be a profit share.
“Kaplan and Purdue share the critical mission of expanding access to education,” said Donald E. Graham, chairman of Graham Holdings Company (NYSE: GHC), the parent company of Kaplan Inc. and Kaplan University. “Purdue takes its land-grant mission very seriously, and I’m deeply impressed by this great university’s commitment to meeting the needs of non-traditional students.”
The new university will rely only on tuition and fundraising to cover operating expenses. No state appropriations will be used. It will operate primarily online, but have 15 locations across the U.S., including an existing facility in Indianapolis. Indiana resident students will receive a yet-to-be determined tuition discount.
“Purdue and Kaplan share the ambition of enabling individuals of all backgrounds to benefit from a high quality education,” said Rosen, “Purdue’s tradition of excellence makes it an ideal party to build upon the progress and innovation that Kaplan University has achieved over the past two decades. We’re proud to pass the baton to this esteemed university.”
Republican Congressman Todd Rokita (IN-4) issued a statement in support of Purdue’s plan. “Purdue University is one of the premier public universities in the world, and is committed to providing students with a high-quality, affordable college education,” he said. “Acquiring Kaplan University provides working adults around the country access to the benefits of being Purdue students and advances their educations online. NewU will rely only on tuition and fundraising to cover operating expenses, and will have no cost to taxpayers.”
Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers also issued a statement. Lubbers is part of a commission that will have to approve Purdue’s new school in the summer.
“The Indiana Commission for Higher Education looks forward to working with Purdue University to develop the procedures required for authorization of this new state education affiliated institution,” Lubbers said. “As higher education evolved to serve more students in innovative ways, we will seek to ensure that new models enhance access, affordability and academic quality for students.”
Before the acquisition is official, Purdue also needs approval from The U.S. Department of Education and the Higher Learning Commission.